Neoliberal Geographies of Disability Debtscapes: Microfinanance and Non-Normative Embodiment in India

Dr. Vandana Chaudhry

Assistant Professor of Social Work and Disability Studies

City University of New York, College of Staten Island

October 10th, 12:30-1:50

Saieh Hall, Room 103

Light lunch will be provided.


In this article, Dr. Chaudhry examines the contradictory effects of solidarity lending from a non-normative perspective of disability embodiment, a perspective that has remained overlooked within scholarship pertaining to microfinance in geography and social sciences more broadly. Based on a multi-year ethnographic study of World Bank disability-oriented self-help group projects in rural South India, she shows how neoliberal governmentality operates by shaping rural spatiality, sociality and disabled people’s subjectivities in the interests of the market. Foregrounding understandings of disability as a spatial-relational construct, she makes sense of disabled people’s experiences as they navigate relational landscapes imbued with financialization. Finally, Dr. Chaudhry concludes by showing how disabled people challenge financialization through disrupting the neoliberal ethics of entrepreneurial subjectivity and creating new, multi-scalar configurations of political claims, solidarities, and radical dependencies.

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